Christiana Care Health System doctor room

A room at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

Delaware is bringing down its rates of cancer mortality, but stubborn challenges remain in addressing several types of cancer - one of which is lung cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in The First State

A report, Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware 2011-2015, also finds some progress in addressing some of the traditional disparities that have tended to affect minority populations.

Delaware is 18th among the states for highest cancer mortality, an improvement from last year's findings. Cancer mortality has also been falling nationally.

"We have made tremendous improvements over the years in helping Delawareans identify cancer earlier by encouraging cancer screenings and accessing potentially life-saving treatment to improve opportunities for both short- and long-term survival," Governor John Carney said in a statement. "I am particularly grateful for the strong partnership between the Delaware Cancer Consortium and Division of Public Health for coordinating the state's cancer advocacy efforts, along with the support of many stakeholders, health care organizations and community champions."

The state still has a rate of cancer incidence that's second among the states, which may be due in part to continued efforts to increase early detection and screening.

"Where we're seeing higher rates of cancer, it's usually the types of cancer that are caused by tobacco, unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity or obesity," Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said on WDEL's DelAWARE.

Another problem is liver cancer, which is often connected with Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can be caused by use of drug abuse and sharing of dirty needles.

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.